We were honored to have Byron Bland from the Stanford Center on International Conflict and Negotiation (SCICN) with us this week at the AMEL Institute! The AMEL Institute (AMELI) brings together 100 civil society activists from across the Middle East and Africa to learn together online on topics ranging from human rights to peacebuilding (find out more here). Through exclusive video lectures and online Q&A sessions, the AMELI trainees learned from Bland about ways of creating the types of peaceful relationship that make agreements possible, based upon his experiences in Europe and the Middle East.
Byron Bland, who served as Associate Director of SCICN before retiring, is now a Senior Consultant at SCICN. An ordained Presbyterian minister and former Stanford campus chaplain, he has served as an ombudsman and conflict resolution consultant for various community and church groups. His more recent work concerns the politics of reconciliation in divided societies. After serving the Stanford campus for 18 years as a chaplain, Bland left that post in 1994 to concentrate on peacemaking efforts in Northern Ireland. He was also involved with community groups and civil leaders in the Israel and the West Bank, as well as in a research project exploring the social and political dynamics of reconciliation with Community Dialogue, a grassroots dialogue organization in Northern Ireland.
Before moving to Stanford University in 1976, Bland was the pastor of a multiracial, urban church in San Francisco. While at Stanford, he was appointed an associate fellow at the Program for Interdisciplinary Studies during 1993-1994. He is a founding member of the Colloquium on Violence and Religion. For the past 20 years, he has taught an interdisciplinary course on peace at Stanford. He has also served as a lecturer in the Stanford Law School, the School of Education, and the International Relations program. He received an undergraduate degree in industrial engineering from Georgia Tech, an MA in social ethics and a master of divinity degree from the San Francisco Theological Seminary.